Permits Scarce For Marco Polo


Published: November - 2003

If you are a US citizen and you signed up for a Marco Polo hunt this year, you may already be aware that some hunters did not get a permit for this season's hunt. In fact, according to Mike Carpenter at the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the number of would-be Marco Polo hunters applying for an import permit "greatly exceeded" the number made available by the agency this year. The main reason for that is, USFWS reduced the number of import permits it issued this year because the wildlife agencies in Tajikistan and Kyrgystan neglected to forward the controlled hunting and population information the US agency requires each year for conservation purposes. Last year, USFWS issued 56 permits for Marco Polo sheep from Tajikstan and 50 for Kyrgyzstan. This year, only 45 permits for sheep from each country were approved.

The reduction in the number of permits has added to an already tight supply and demand situation. With "quite a few" (according to Carpenter) 2003 permits rolled forward, it's important that you get started now on your planning for 2004. And do make sure the agent you work with has the knowledge and experience to process your paperwork. Some US hunters in recent years have been sold Marco Polo hunts by agents who did not even know about the permit situation at all. A word to the wise should be sufficient here.

So, who can you contact for a Marco Polo hunt? Here's a rundown of important US agents, plus a quick look at how their clients have done recently and what availabilities they have for next year:

* Harv Hollek. Had 25 Marco Polo hunters booked last season for Kyrgystan, but a number of them were unable to get their import permits and are hunting this year instead. Hollek says he has a total of 27 booked for this season. He charges $20,000 and has openings for 2004.

* Bob Kern, The Hunting Consortium, Had 25 clients hunt Kyrgystan and Tajikistan last year. He reports all........(continued)

 
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